Résumé : The term "DNA fingerprint" has been used to describe the extensive restriction fragment length polymorphism associated with hypervariable minisatellites present in the human genome. Until now, it was necessary to hybridize Southern blots to specific probes cloned from human genomic DNA in order to obtain individual-specific restriction patterns. The present study describes the surprising finding that the insert-free, wild-type M13 bacteriophage detects hypervariable minisatellites in human and in animal DNA, provided no competitor DNA is used during hybridization. The effective sequence in M13 was traced to two clusters of 15-base pair repeats within the protein III gene of the bacteriophage. This unexpected use of M13 renders the DNA fingerprinting technology more readily available to molecular biology laboratories.